Building a Brighter Energy Future, Together - Carolina Country

Building a Brighter Energy Future, Together

National co-op Board President Curtis Wynn outlines his vision for the future

By Curtis Wynn

Building a Brighter Energy Future, Together

Electric cooperatives were founded on the promise of a brighter future: the improved quality of life and new opportunities that electricity — along with a grass-roots spirit of cooperation — could bring to rural people and communities. That same promise is extending even further today, here in North Carolina and across the nation, as our co-ops and their members work together to pursue new energy solutions and embrace innovation and technology that will better meet our needs and support our vitality.

As the recently elected board president of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA), I will challenge all of our country’s cooperative family to fully examine the way we view the future of our industry, asking ourselves: “Are we, as utilities and cooperatives, ready?” as well as: “How can we collectively strengthen the cooperative network, and turn our challenges into even more opportunities for the people, businesses and communities we serve?”

The energy industry is changing rapidly as the electric grid becomes more interconnected than ever before. One-way transmission and distribution of power has been replaced by two-way communication and smart devices that give co-op members an unprecedented level of choice and control over their energy use, and allow us to use electricity in new and exciting ways. This evolution of both technology and consumer expectations is expected to continue at full force — and North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are leading the national effort to leverage this change through three core values:

  • Low Carbon. Creating a low-carbon emissions environment through sustainability and continued investment in low- and zero-emissions resources.
  • Grid Flexibility. Integrating technology to make distribution grids more resilient, robust and flexible for an energy future that includes consumers’ participation through demand response programs and new energy resources distributed across the grid.
  • Beneficial Electrification. Improving efficiency of the overall energy sector by electrifying processes and devices formerly powered by fossil fuels, and making the most of the many benefits electricity has to offer.

Electric cooperatives are unique businesses in that when we work together, we can accomplish great things.

To be successful, all three of these will require the ongoing support and participation of co-op members. From reducing peak energy loads and participating in energy efficiency programs provided through your cooperatives, to employing smart thermostats and driving electric, you can play an integral role in building a brighter energy future for all.

Electric cooperatives are unique businesses in that when we work together, we can accomplish great things.

During my tenure as NRECA president, I want us to build on our commonalities as cooperatives and co-op members, and further integrate them with the changes taking place in our industry. I want to raise awareness and understanding about the evolution we are experiencing, and help co-op members realize how they can be part of one of the most exciting times in our history. Most of all, I want to better serve our members and continue to put them at the forefront of all we do.

Thank you for joining me on this mission. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you in this new capacity, and I look forward to all we will continue to accomplish together.

Read more on Curtis Wynn's recent election as board president of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA).

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About the Author

Curtis Wynn is president and CEO for Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Aulander and was recently elected president of the NRECA Board of Directors.

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